NORTHFIELD, Minn. - A Seattle, Washington man has been charged with sexual assault following an alleged incident last spring at Carleton College which resulted in at least 13 students suspended.
Taariq Vanegas, 19, has been charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct in reference to an incident on April 28th. According to the complaint, the alleged victim reported receiving emails and contact from people days prior to the incident stating to "Not Live in Fear" and for "the answers to your questions, and all of the eternal glory that this campus has to offer, await you there." "There" referred to the Japenese Pagoda behind Watson Hall at Carleton College. The woman was invited to meet there at 2 a.m. on April 27/28.
The woman, a student at the college, told investigators the felt comfortable attending as she knew a lot of people involved and knew "a lot of the Carleton traditions included alcohol." She arrived and found 12 other students there. A masked student greeted them and said the night was going to involve a lot of alcohol consumption and if anyone did not want to be involved, they needed to leave. The victim said no one left.
Over the next few hours, the victim and other students were provided and encouraged to drink various alcoholic beverages and asked to perform various tasks at several locations before being initiated into a group called "DTX."
At one point, the victim blacked out and remembers Vanegas attempting to help her. She said she blacked out again and later regained consciousness, finding herself in a bed with Vanegas on top of her. The complaint goes on to state the victim was in and out of consciousness the rest of the morning, remembering very few details over the next several hours.
Vanegas and his attorney spoke with investigators in May. He stated the woman agreed to have sex with him and that he considered the night to be a drunken encounter between two intoxicated people.
In May, Carleton College suspended at least 13 students who participated in the night of drinking. Those suspensions are for the next school year.
Vanegas has been summoned to appear in Rice County Court on August 17.
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